What are some of your favorite unique mechanics in RPGs?

Mythmaker19

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Also, what about those particular mechanics makes you enjoy them so much?
 
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Field of Fonons from Tales of the Abyss: Elemental abilities, like spells, would leave little elemental circles on the battlefield, and if you activated specific abilities within those circles, that ability would transform into a much more powerful ability. It created a really nice synergy between the backline and frontline

Command Arts from Legend of Legaia: Instead of a standard Attack command, you would input directional commands into a bar, and the character would perform a combo. Inputting specific strings of commands would activate special abilities, giving you more damage and longer combos. While it did lead to battles taking longer towards the end of the game, it's still the most visually and mechanically satisfying version of the Attack command in any turn based RPG I've played

The entire battle system from Mega Man Battle Network: It's this unique blend of ATB, card games, and action combat on a grid. You had full customization of your entire moveset, each turn gave you a random "hand" of abilities so battles never played out in the same exact way, the grid tested your positioning and AoE skills, etc. Once you get used to the battle system, it's really easy to enter this kinda flow state where you're just flying all over the place dispatching enemies with perfect timing regardless of whatever hand you get
 

Dororo

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As you don't asked for specific game features, but RPG genre overall, I suppose the things I like the most are:
Turn based combat
Plot driven inciters
Character management
Equipment strategy
Long lasting
 

RCXDan

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@BURNING_JUSTICE_Games Big props for mentioning the Megaman Battle Network series.

The one I can immediately think of is Undertale's blend between conventional RPG combat, spare/kill and bullet hell mechanics, since it makes every enemy unique ranging from their method of sparing to how you dodge their attacks.

Its extensive usage of "meta" mechanics is also extremely interesting given how it makes the game feel alive and reactive to what you do. Say you turn the game off mid-play through and didn't save. It would still remember your actions.
 
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Riazey

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@BURNING_JUSTICE_Games

Legitimately if you hadn't pointed it out I would have. The megaman battle network games are still some of the best and most unique rpgs I've ever played, it's honestly so much fun and can be challenging but not impossible.

10/10 can recommend. Plus the pixel art isn't bad even to this day whew.
 

Ragpuppy87

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Not an actual "RPG" perse, but I loved the cooking mechanic from Zelda, Breath of the Wild. It's just basic crafting for a temporary power boost, but with food. I think it's incredibly fun.

Edit: While the game itself was meh, in my opinion, Kingdom hearts 358/2 Days had a fun and unique Tetris type mechanic for powering up Roxas.
 

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  • Mana Khemia: Crafting System
  • Final Fantasy 8: Item Refinement and Magic Units
  • Not an RPG (Sorry) GTA Vice City and San Andreas: Assets System and Gang Wars
 

AfroKat

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Bravely Default, where you can Use the Brave and Default commands...

But seriously it allows you to get extra turns in battle now for the cost of the same turns later. So you can wipe mobs in a turn super easy making random battles a measure of how strong you can get in that first turn, caus they hurt like hell.

Radiant Historian is also great. Enemies are on a 3x3 grid and you gotta push them and pull them around to stack them together to hit them all at once. Really really really good rpg 3ds. Also time travel.
 

Milennin

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Djinn system from Golden Sun.

Finding them in hidden spots or having to do little puzzles to get them was fun.
How each of them affects character stats, as well as the ability to alter a character's class and grant different abilities, based on the combination of djinn equipped on them.
They also allow for the summons, which do look awesome. Probably could've been balanced better, since it does allow you to cheese rush almost every boss in the game in like 1-2 turns if you know their weaknesses, but I do like how it temporarily craters a character's stats when they are used for summons, making it risky to use against tough bosses.
 

PixeLockeT

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Command Arts from Legend of Legaia: Instead of a standard Attack command, you would input directional commands into a bar, and the character would perform a combo. Inputting specific strings of commands would activate special abilities, giving you more damage and longer combos. While it did lead to battles taking longer towards the end of the game, it's still the most visually and mechanically satisfying version of the Attack command in any turn based RPG I've played
+1 Legend of Legaia series is super innovative. I'm surprised I barely know anyone who has played it.

I also love how Star Ocean perfected the automatic-action combat system put forward by Tales Of and really anything Star Ocean 2 is innovative to the max - one of the reasons it's my fav game ever. You hardly get the same game twice due to even being able to customize things that may give them different reactions in cutscenes, the private action stuff, in general that game has the deepest and best flow still to this date. lol

I also really adore Thousand Arms (my second fav game)'s ability to date/grow relationships which in turn helps you upgrade and imbue equips with new stats/abilities. ; w;
 

Wavelength

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Wow. There are so many mechanics from RPG's that I've really liked over the years, but here are a few that come to mind immediately:

Star Ocean 2's (and SO3's) Item Creation: Instead of being a simple fetch quest for recipe ingredients, your characters gained talent in different skills, and those skills turned into mastery over certain types of item creation like Cooking, Compounding, or even Forgery. Every attempt at Item Creation was exciting because your ingredients could turn into hundreds of different results from trash to treasure.

Tales of Graces' Chain Capacity: Completely replacing MP, CC was a resource that would drain with every action but fill all the way back up with just a couple seconds of rest. This was the perfect middle ground in an Action Battle System between a complete button-mash fest and a slow system where you had to conserve your resources.

Dark Cloud 2's Invention: The execution was middling, but the concept was amazing. You could take pictures of anything throughout the world, and those pictures unlocked certain 'ideas' that you could then combine in certain combinations to invent new weapons, building features, or tools. It made every detail of the world feel like it mattered, and felt pretty rewarding when you got it right.

Undertale's Sparing of Enemies: Figuring out how to Spare each enemy drove the entire battle system and it was generally very fun to do, at least the first time you encountered an enemy. As a nonviolent guy who often feels bad killing enemies in encounters, I also just really liked the fact that you didn't have to, and weren't even expected to.

Final Fantasy 7's Materia: Of all the convoluted ways the Final Fantasy series has offered to customize your characters, Materia was BY FAR my favorite. It offered a ton of interesting combinations, some of which are gamebreaking in a very satisfying way, it offered a clear and involved system that is fun to play with on its own, and the slots you needed for Materia created interesting decisions in your armor choices besides "which one has higher stats". I am so intrigued by Materia that I have spent a couple of years and several hundred hours creating my own create-your-own-spells system that was inspired by its design.

Trails in the Sky's... Battler Sequence Thing: I don't think it has an actual name, but Trails in the Sky uses a Custom Turn Battle system and it shows you the sequence in which battlers will take their turn if nothing changes before then. It also assigns arbitrary bonuses to random turn numbers (for example, whoever gets the 9th turn will automatically Crit, and whoever gets the 12th turn will restore 50 MP before their action), and it shows you these in advance as well. The brilliant thing is that there are tons of ways to manipulate turn order to try and get these bonuses - for example, you can use Agility buffs/debuffs, you can cast a Spell which counts as two turns (the beginning of the cast, and the actual spell effect a short time later), or you can even kill an enemy to knock it out of the Sequence.
 

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